Workshop on non-linguistic aspects of fieldwork – Sheena Van Der Mark

[from Sheena Van Der Mark, La Trobe University]
A workshop about bringing non-linguistic aspects of fieldwork out of lunchtime conversations and into a more public domain is being proposed for the upcoming Australian Linguistics Society Conference at La Trobe University. This is the abstract for the workshop as it currently stands:
The experiences we have in the field have a profound impact on the outcomes of our research, academically, personally and for the communities involved. This workshop is an opportunity to explore some of the issues associated with fieldwork and its repercussions in a professional forum. The first paper, Fieldwork and Your Wellbeing (S. Van Der Mark, S. Morey and T. Stebbins), discusses newly established practices within the RCLT with respect managing fieldwork in terms of risk management, safety, and personal well-being (including both professional and personal relationships). In the second paper, Bringing Fieldwork Home (C. Eira), the author discusses how fieldwork is inseparable from directions for both linguistics and life itself – that fieldwork is not something that is ‘outside over there’, whether or not your fieldwork site is far away. This workshop aims to bring non-linguistic aspects of fieldwork into the academic domain, and facilitate discussion about linguists and fieldwork.
We hope to be able to broaden the workshop by involving three more presenters on related topics or with different perspectives on relevant issues. Topics could include things like the following:

  • fieldwork and ethics
  • doing academic linguistics versus work that benefits the language community and how to reconcile these areas
  • ‘ownership’ of linguistic data
  • evolving working (and/or personal) relationships with language communities
  • mentoring/supporting students and colleagues doing fieldwork
  • the representation of fieldwork to different communities (the language community, the academic community, and how we represent ourselves to the ‘outside’ world)

These are just a few ideas of the type of topics that we are envisioning, but other ideas that fit in with the overall theme of the non-linguistic aspects of doing fieldwork (working with language communities) would be welcome. If you are interested (or know of anyone who would be – perhaps a grad student who is keen to discuss their experiences), I would need the title of the proposed talk, and a brief description (not a full abstract) about what you would present.
Deadline: 10:00 am on Monday, 6th April.
e-mail to Sheena Van Der Mark: S.VanDerMark AT latrobe.edu.au

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